20/20 was previously associated in my mind with perfect vision. Prior to 2019, I longed for the clarity that the number brought.
But after the year that was last year, I know see 2020 as the Christmas Carol of years. The ghosts of America’s Christmas past (slavery/racism), present (pandemic), and future (climate change), came into the forefront.
And, much like Ebenezer in the well-known tale, we have an opportunity to turn this shit around. The forewarning should be heeded. This is the impetus for us engage in best practices.
I am not trying to pretend that I am an expert in anything. So please do not take my tips as anything more than well-meaning suggestions. To work on your own thinking the best thing you can do is look for content from various mediums.
One of the things that I do to break my own stereotyped or unbalanced thinking is to read. So try it. Read books about how to combat racism or that re-educate prior thinking. I also seek out documentaries and positive films. Watch movies that highlight the potential of people of races other than your own. And most importantly, think before you speak. Force yourself to think differently. Be kind. Be sensitive. Don’t joke about people’s differences. Look at others as fully realized people. Don’t make assumptions about other people.
I don’t foresee my life returning to the “pre-pandemic” normal. No. I have learned too much. Instead, I see myself adopting new practices that were learned in 2020 to maintain my health. First, masks. It goes without saying that I will continue to wear masks and socially distance until I complete the round of vaccines. I encourage all to do so. But, even after that I will continue to incorporate them into daily life. I intend to wear masks out in public anytime I feel under the weather. I do not intend to return to the practice of shaking hands. Most importantly, I intend to maintain the practice of being grateful and kind to all front line workers.
Although climate change always feels monumentally large, remember that everyone must make changes in their behavior to improve our planet’s health. During the lockdown that started in March, the planet saw small improvements to the carbon emissions. This was a surprising benefit of the pandemic. But, it did encourage me to think more about the planet’s nonhuman inhabitants. I placed food receptacles out for squirrels and birds in my backyard. I have continued that practice into the winter. I have had the benefit of seeing bluejays and cardinals even into December.
Of course, feeding a few small creatures is not enough. Other things that I am trying to do are using my vehicle less and being less wasteful. Other opportunities that we can all take include: buying local products to reduce your carbon footprint, donating to worthwhile causes, and participating in waterway or roadside cleanups. Plus, the most important thing we can all do is encourage corporations whose products we buy to make more environmentally conscious choices. After all, it is corporations that are the biggest contributors to climate change.